Sporting event ticket scams happen often in all sports. Unless you are referred by a close friend, consumers must be very careful where they go to buy tickets or plan trips to attend a sporting event such as the Kentucky Derby. A staring place is to “google” any company you intend to buy from. BUT DON’T STOP THERE!
Check directly with the actual ticket source (such as Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby) to see if the company/person actually has tickets and are they buying from the event directly. You can also check with places where you saw an ad for them (such as an ad in a magazine or newspaper – find out if the magazine/newspaper has worked with them before). Ask for references! Many states have laws governing travel – see if the person/company you are thinking about going with is registered with their state. Make sure you check various sources. You can also check with sources they mention such as Hotels, events they mention that you will be going to attend. Make sure you know who you are dealing with and how long they have been in business. Ask the Convention and Visitors Bureau in the area. You can never be too careful!
Legitimate companies will not take offense if you are “checking them out”. Most will suggest people and companies for you to check with about them and their business. Just make sure you are actually calling an established/verified phone number.
Sadly, seeing it on the internet does not make it real!
Here is an article directly from the Louisville Courier Journal reprinted from earlier this year about Kentucky Derby ticket scams:
Watch out for these Derby ticket scams
The Better Business Bureau serving Louisville has issued a warning for people to be wary of scam artists selling Kentucky Derby tickets.
“The best way to avoid getting scammed is to deal with a business that you know is legitimate. You can check out businesses at bbb.org,” said bureau spokeswoman Reanna Smith-Hamblin. She suggested using a credit card to purchase any race tickets, so the buyer can substantiate any disputed charge.
The bureau advisory said to be careful when you are using online auction sites, or sites like Craigslist.
“Scam artists often ask ticket seekers to send money through Western Union. The BBB has had reports of ticket-buyers losing thousands of dollars this way. After you wire the money, you never get the tickets…and your money is gone,” the advisory said.
Here are some red flags for Internet or Craigslist-type scams:
- The buyer is not local.
- Misspellings and grammar errors are evident in the response.
- Western Union is used for the transaction.
- The seller offers use of an online escrow service.
A ticket to the Kentucky Derby is a hot ticket item,” Charlie Mattingly, the bureau president and CEO, said. If you buy a ticket to the Derby, “Make sure you don’t get taken for a ride.”
To protect yourself against ticket fraud, Mattingly suggested “having the seller provide proof that he/she paid for the seats and check where they are at Churchill Downs.”
While there are legitimate posts, Derby ticket scams often pop up on Craigslist and online auction sites.
For BBB information, call 1-800-388-2222. The Better Business Bureau office serving Louisville, southern Indiana and western Kentucky is at 844 S. 4th St.
Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at 502-582-7089, or via email at email@example.com.